Two for One

Kleen-Vue system combines jetting and inspection in a single tool, allowing a general assessment of pipe condition during the cleaning process
Two for One

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Waterjetters and cameras are basic tools for sewer inspection and cleaning. Manufacturers have taken a variety of approaches to combining those capabilities in the same system or tool, so that in essence both operations can be performed at the same time.

One such approach is represented by the Kleen-Vue combination jetting and inspection tool, created by German-based KEG GmbH and distributed in the United States by KEG Technologies.

On July 14, company representatives demonstrated the Kleen-Vue system in St. Charles, Ill., for Dave Todd, assistant manager for the city’s environmental services division. General sales manager Dan Story led the demonstration, assisted by Mike Lackey, sales manager for northern Illinois and eastern Wisconsin, and Guenter Schaarschmidt, designer of the unit.

Assisting with the tool’s jetting functions was Mike Adler, a mechanic for Finkbiner Equipment Co. of Burr Ridge, Ill., a vendor for KEG Technologies, accompanied by Chad Cailteaux of Finkbiner’s sales department.



The Kleen-Vue system consists of a camera/nozzle unit and a control system for the camera. The unit demonstrated included an optional remote component system for transmitting the camera image signal wirelessly using Wi-Fi technology. A simple series of pushbuttons control camera operation and recording.

The camera controls are mounted in a metal box that includes recording controls, a QWERTY keyboard for entering inspection data, and a port for an SD memory card that stores the data. The control box and monitor are supported on a pole typically mounted near the control panel of the combination truck or trailer jetter that supplies high-pressure water for the operation.

The Kleen-Vue unit itself measures 10 3/4 inches wide, 9 1/2 inches tall and 16 inches long and weighs 65 pounds. The upper part of the unit is a camera system. Identical forward- and backward-facing color cameras are equipped with automatic wiper blades to keep the lenses clean. Halogen lamps are mounted in both the forward and the rearward directions.

The lower part of the unit is the jetting component. The jetting nozzle is based on KEG’s floor cleaner nozzle model, which is used to clean the bottoms of pipes.

The assembly rests on metal skids akin to sleigh runners. At the rear is a port for attaching a jetting hose. Nozzles are used both for hydrojetting and to propel the unit forward. Both the upper camera and lower jetting unit are housed inside a circular roller cage.

The primary power source is an enclosed generator turbine at the front of the jetting section. The turbine, powered by a portion of the jetting water, provides power to the camera system and recharges an onboard battery that can store about two minutes worth of power, allowing the camera to function when the jetter is not in use. “We actually take water and spin the turbine, and it generates all the power for the battery pack inside there,” Story said.

A white cap on the front of the camera unit identifies a wireless transmitter that sends data from the camera to a receiver via radio waves. The remote receiver is a metal box about the size of two paperback books side by side; its receiving node is also covered by a white cap.

In operation, the remote receiver is wired to a black Pelican Box containing receiving equipment. The box can be wired to the camera control box or to a Wi-Fi transmitter that then sends the camera image and related data to the control box wirelessly. This allows the remote receiver to be placed in the sewer, where it receives a stronger signal from the Kleen-Vue unit.

The Kleen-Vue fits in pipe as small as 12 inches. For larger pipe, attached spacers lift the camera section so as to center it in the pipe. Story says the device has been tested in pipes up to 72 inches, and he believes it could function in larger pipes, as well.



Demonstration participants met in a residential neighborhood at Glen Boulevard and Birch Lane in St. Charles. There, Todd opened a city manhole. About 150 to 200 feet away, Story and Schaarschmidt opened a second manhole.

Schaarschmidt erected a tripod on which the Wi-Fi transmitter was mounted. The radio receiving unit was mounted to a series of 6-foot and one 3-foot fiberglass poles. Story and Schaarschmidt lowered the receiver into the second manhole, supporting it with a simple metal brace that straddled the manhole. The receiver’s wire was connected to the Pelican Box, in turn connected to the Wi-Fi transmitter.

Back at the first manhole, the KEG representatives attached the Kleen-Vue unit to a jetter hose from the front of a Vacall combination truck. For the demonstration, the camera control unit was temporarily mounted on a standard pickup truck, rather than on the combination truck. Story carefully lowered the unit into the 24-foot-deep manhole, bringing it to rest on its skids in the sewer line trough at the bottom.

Because of the depth of the manhole, to help position the unit properly, one team member used a mirror to reflect sunlight down on to it, while another held an electric light to further illuminate the space. A 90-degree turn in the line right at the base of the manhole made it more challenging to position the device in the line.

The recording process was activated with the touch of a button on the control box, and a red light indicated that the system was indeed recording. Using the jetter controls, Adler kicked the water pressure up to 1,950 psi and sent the device moving forward.

The camera sent back sharp, well-lit, color images that showed the interior of the line, including several residential unit lateral connections it passed. The interior of the pipe surface was clearly visible. While the pipe was clean and in good repair, the quality of the images suggested that any damage to the line would have been easy to spot.

Although the camera view itself was static, its image had a wide enough angle so that the pipe immediately in its vicinity could be seen entirely. The wiper blades ran about every three seconds, helping to provide a constantly clean view. Schaarschmidt used the control panel to periodically shift from the front to the rear camera. The rear view was slightly obscured by water from the nozzle, but the obstruction was minimal.

The 8-inch monitor screen was shielded with a hood. To view the camera images on the screen in the field, the viewer had to lean into the hood to block out sunlight.

In about 10 minutes, the unit propelled forward to the next manhole, where Adler brought it to a stop when he saw the radio receiving unit ahead of it on the screen. With the jetter still running, Adler rewound the unit to bring it back to the first manhole.

The line inspected was only about six years old, according to Todd, and had very little debris. The debris visible on the bottom rapidly came clean as the unit moved through the line. The jetter and the camera both operated for the entire 10-minute journey forward through the line and back to where it was first inserted.

Once the unit was back at the first manhole, Adler shut down the jetter water. Adler, Story, Lackey and Schaarschmidt used a roller chute — a pole equipped with a pulley wheel — to help create a track for reeling up the jetter hose, making retrieval of the unit from the manhole easier.


Observer comments

The images produced by the sewer camera were clear and sharp. The camera lenses operate only in a straightforward (or rearward) position; there is no pan, tilt or zoom capability. The televised image from the sewer included date and time information but did not record the distance into the line.

Todd found the unit’s wireless technology impressive, especially considering the depth of the line inspected. “The quality of the picture was good, and the wiper helps out a lot,” he said.

He also saw potential savings in buying a unit with both jetting and televising capability. “That’s going to offer a lot of versatility to municipalities that can’t afford a dedicated camera truck,” he said.


Manufacturer comments

The standard SD memory card used with the system can hold about three hours of recording, according to Schaarschmidt. Story said that the system has been tested to transmit its signal at least 600 feet and that a recorded voice overlay for the inspection video can be made by attaching a microphone (not included).

Story said one person can operate the device if the camera control unit is positioned where the operator can also operate the jetter controls. “The idea is to have the control box where the operator can see what’s going on,” he said. While the ability to run the unit without the expense of a dedicated camera truck is an important attribute, KEG does not regard the system primarily as a camera substitute.

“It is not designed to replace a camera truck,” he said. “It is designed to help a city get through their system much faster, keeping the camera truck for the smaller pipes where it’s absolutely needed all the time.” In larger pipes, the Kleen-Vue can be used routinely, “and only when they find a major problem, where they need to pan and tilt, do they bring the camera truck over to look at that particular pipe.”

In addition to the halogen lamps mounted on the camera, LED lamps can be attached for larger pipes.


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